Singapore MP blasts Facebook over ‘false’ post

November 20, 2018

A Singapore lawmaker has hit out at Facebook, saying it had reneged on a promise to help rein in fake news and calling for tougher regulations, which the social media firm has cautioned against.

The criticism follows Facebook’s refusal this month of a government request to remove an online article about the city-state’s banks and Malaysia’s 1MDB state fund, which the government said was false and malicious.

Edwin Tong told parliament, “Facebook has…given assurances that it will work closely with the Singapore authorities to swiftly address online falsehoods and yet, when there’s an actual falsehood that attacks Singapore, Facebook refuses to remove the content.”

This month’s incident “reinforces” the need for legislation, said Tong, who is also on a panel of lawmakers that has recommended the government consider legislation to tackle the spread of online falsehoods or ‘fake news’.

Regarding its refusal to take down the post, Facebook earlier said in an emailed statement it did not have a policy “that prohibits alleged falsehoods, apart from in situations where this content has the potential to contribute to imminent violence or physical harm”.